Introducing: Design the Home You Love

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelly O'Reilly

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Published on May 4, 2021

There was a time when hiring an interior designer was a luxury reserved for the fortunate few looking to outfit their high-end homes. Along came Havenly, which founder and CEO Lee Mayer started to bring interior design to anyone who wanted a professional’s eye to make their space one they loved. Since its inception, Havenly’s team of designers has worked with clients in spaces large and small, complicated and easy breezy to bring their design dreams—and personalities—to life in their homes.

Fast forward to fall 2020, when Lee revealed that she wrote a design guidebook with co-founder Emily Motayed. Design the Home You Love is out today, May 4, and in true Havenly fashion, packs the same bang-for-your-buck, real-life design expertise in a beautiful package.

While using the styling tips, designer rules-of-thumb, and splurge-or-save tips can surely leave you with a magazine-worthy space that impresses your friends—first and foremost, the book is meant to serve as your roadmap to spruce up or start over with your space and love where you live. 

We talked to Lee to find out more about what we can expect, what she’s most excited about and, of course, how the book looks in her own living room. 

To sum it up very simply, you created Havenly to make interior design more accessible. What did you set out to accomplish by writing Design the Home You Love?

Writing this book was really drawn from the same inspiration for starting Havenly – I was truly frustrated by the lack of information and resources out there about how to design your home, but more than anything, was bothered by how inaccessible traditional interior design felt. It was too expensive, time-intensive, and left me feeling defeated and confused. 

I strongly believe that everyone deserves to live in a home they love, no matter their circumstance. So after starting Havenly and learning a ton over the last several years, synthesizing that knowledge and experience into a guidebook – full of practical tips and beautiful inspiration – was a natural next step. 

What’s the Havenly version of an interior design book? How is it different than others?

Like most design books, our book is gorgeous 🙂 But it’s also the ultimate guidebook, full of affordable and practical tips, style “recipes” and frequently asked design questions – all pulled together in one place, to give you some easy and approachable steps to achieving a well designed home, that’s actually meant for living

What are a few of the top lessons we should take away from the book? 

There are tons of lessons and tips, but I’d say the key take-away messages are: 

1) Everyone deserves a beautiful home! It doesn’t matter if you have a 6 bedroom house or a studio apartment, a well designed space can dramatically transform your home, and given how much time we spend in our homes,  it’s so worth it. 

2) Designing and styling a home you love is achievable, no matter your budget / space / or experience.

3) Havenly is built by, and for, real people – our experiences and suggestions found in the book, are rooted in real life, with real life applications. 

It looks like there’s a version of Havenly’s signature find-your-style quiz in the book. What would you say your style is? Do you talk about your own style in the book? 

Yes, I talk quite a bit about my own style – and lessons I’ve learned about my preferences along the way – throughout the book! I mention this in the book as well, but California Casual (or Modern Casual) is probably my favorite style. It’s so decidedly cool, effortless and classic – a perfect balance of relaxed yet composed, and full of lovely textures and materials. 

What was your process for writing the book? Where did you find inspiration?

I had lots of early morning drafting sessions, when the house was still quiet, and I generally loved writing earlier in the week, after a long refreshing weekend. During the warmer months, I found myself drawn to writing outside – and would often take a glass of wine with me. But fortunately inspiration was never hard to come by! One of the many perks of working with Havenly’s incredible designers, who I have learned so much from over the years.   

Have you gotten your hands on the finished product? How did that feel?

Yes! Well, it was incredible – it’s already an amazing thing to write a book, and to go through that whole process. But physically holding it and flipping through its pages was when it all sunk in – this is real! Truly such an incredible feeling. 

Can you tell us a bit about one of your favorite projects featured in the book?

It’s really hard to pick a favorite! My home is featured quite a bit in the book, so perhaps I might pick that one, but honestly each of the projects showcases so many different and delightful things about good design across a range of design styles. I also love projects that are totally different from mine, featured on the cover is the home of one of our amazing clients, Blair, who has an incredible bright-sophisticated-Florida style.  It’s so creative and vibrant, and it really reflects her personality.

You’ve always been open about not being a designer yourself—how did you bring that point of view to the book?

That was really the primary point of view for this book – meaning, I wasn’t originally an interior designer, but in the course of working with many incredible designers over the years, and picking up things through the millions of designs we’ve done, I have learned a lot of tips and tricks that can be applied to any space, no matter your style or budget. 

By walking readers through my own journey and sharing these nuggets of design wisdom that I’ve found valuable, my goal is to show you that creating a well-designed home that is uniquely you is totally possible. Even if you’re not a designer!

Who needs this book?

In this book, we break down some of the more complex (and sometimes intimidating!) parts of interior design and home decor – so for anyone who is just starting their home design journey, looking for designer-approved tricks, needs help with real-world design solutions, or just wants beautiful inspiration – this book will be a great resource.

How do/will you have it styled in your home? Give us the vignette!

It currently lives and is styled on my coffee table, alongside some of my other favorite coffee table books and a pretty bouquet of fresh flowers.

Design the Home You Love is available May 4! Get a sneak peek inside and order from your favorite retailers on the book’s Havenly page

Words by Kelly O’Reilly